What is First-Year Experience?
All first year students at Armstrong take the First-Year Seminar as part of the First Class Learning Community. They may also participate in other First-Year Learning Communities (FLCs), as well as the Common Read program. Through each of these campus-wide efforts, we intentionally and repeatedly invite students to engage in active learning as we expand the space of the classroom to include working with peers, engaging with the broader community, and sharing research across campus.
All students with less than 30 earned hours, or those who are on academic warning, probation or suspension will have their mid-term grades reported to their academic advisor via a program called GradesFirst. GradesFirst is a comprehensive academic advising tool that helps your advisor contact you, schedule appointments and follow-up with you if your faculty member is concerned about your performance in his or her courses. When you receive notices or emails from GradesFirst, you should take them seriously and respond to your advisor's attempts to reach you.
Philosophy and Goals
First-Year Experience (FYE) programming is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on first-year students and their transition out of high school and into university life.
Relying on campus collaborations between and among faculty, staff, administrators, and students, we aim to enhance the success of first-year students, steering them to embrace the academic rigor of university studies while also participating in co-curricular activities. We invite our first-year students to grow in their critical thinking, their appreciation for diversity and tolerance, and their understanding of the benefits of the liberal arts education we provide through our core curriculum.
Our goals are simple: increased student learning, achievement, success and engagement in both their curricular and co-curricular experiences.
Formal FYE programming at Armstrong dates back at least to the turn of the century, when the university began exploring various student learning communities and paired course offerings, while also expanding its offering of “success” or “university experience” classes.
In 2008, an increased focus on all things FYE included the hiring of several core curriculum faculty who would concentrate efforts on program enhancements and work alongside a newly formed First-Year Experience Task Force comprising university-wide administrators, staff, and faculty. Three years of research, experimentation and collaboration have brought the program to its present state, one where every entering first-year student has abundant opportunities to identify — and then attain — personally derived marks of success.